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This French-Bred Stays Fresh

Six Perfections, a little testy in the gate, is strong at the finish under Bailey, giving the owner and trainer two in a row in the race.

October 26, 2003|Bob Mieszerski | Times Staff Writer

Reluctant to get started in the $1.5-million Breeders' Cup Mile, Six Perfections was in a rush to finish.

A handful before loading into her stall near the extreme outside, so much so that jockey Jerry Bailey jumped off, the 3-year-old French-bred was all business once the gates opened Saturday.

Well-positioned by Bailey going into the first turn, Six Perfections, the co-third choice at 5-1, raced near the middle of the pack behind a hot pace through most of the mile, then showed a powerful surge once clear in the stretch to beat 11-1 shot Touch Of The Blues by three-quarters of a length in 1:33.86 over the turf.

In winning for the sixth time in 10 starts, the black daughter of Celtic Swing provided her owner -- the Niarchos family's Flaxman Holdings Ltd. -- and trainer -- Pascal Bary -- with their second consecutive victory in the Mile.

A year ago, the result was a little more shocking. Domedriver was 26-1 when he surprised heavily favored Rock Of Gibraltar and 12 others at Arlington Park.

Before coming to California, Six Perfections had defeated Domedriver in a Group 1 in France more than two months ago. Obviously, the layoff, the hot local weather and firmer ground than she is used to didn't bother a filly who has never been worse than second in her career.

Nor did her prerace antics faze Bary, who has now three Breeders' Cup victories. He also won the 1991 Turf with 42-1 shot Miss Alleged.

"She can be a bit like that at the gate," he said. "I don't think it's because she's bad. She knows the game. She wants to fight -- even with people.

"I talked with Jerry Bailey for about five minutes last night and I just told him that the filly would finish very, very fast. I told him to try to save some ground and keep her back and he did the job perfect."

Believing it is more difficult to win a Breeders' Cup race in California than anywhere else, Bary decided to try to acquire the services of a top American jockey. All he did was get the best in Bailey, the perennial leader in terms of earnings and a winner of a record 13 Breeders' Cup races before 2003.

"I think that if you go to Chicago or if you go to New York, maybe you can use a French jockey," he said. "Here it is much better to have an American jockey."

It doesn't hurt to have an exceptional filly. Six Perfections has now won three Group or Grade I races and placed in two others while running in four countries. Before Saturday, she had competed in England, France and Ireland.

"I thought she might be fractious going into the gate, but it wasn't an issue once the race started," said Bailey, who had never won the Mile before. "She has a great turn of foot and put in an exceptional performance."

Perhaps the best news for fans of the sport is that she probably will return to race at age 4. Bary indicated she is likely to have the same kind of campaign in 2004 -- unless the Niarchos Family decides to retire her -- and could come back to the United States to defend her title in the Mile next fall at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.

If so, she could make like her grandmother. Miesque, who ran for Stavros Niarchos, repeated in the Mile, winning at Hollywood Park in 1987 and Churchill Downs the following year.

"We'll try to have her ready," Bary said before asking a question: "How is the weather in Texas?"

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